This morning I just purchased a new cage for my Cockatoo, Bella. I've had her since 1989 and she is the closest thing to me and I love her dearly. I can not believe I am considering buying her another cage. This will be the third one in 13 years.
In 1989 while living in Miami I got an urge to have a bird as a pet. The last bird I had was in 1980 while living in San Diego. It was a young Mexican RedHead and basically a "rescue". My RedHead friend flew away one day never to return. One day in November 89' I went to a bird shop in North Miami Beach and met Eddie. Eddie was "the bird guy", he had all kinds, Macaws, Greys, and Cockatiels. I went in thinking I wanted a small cockatiel, easy to care for and good talkers. One bird caught my eye as I cruised around the store. It was a small white umbrella cockatoo sitting quietly in her cage. She was beautiful and as I got closer I noticed two things....one she had fiery red eyes ( I thought she was defected, honestly!) and two, she sat very quietly and tried to ignore me. I soon left only to return about 2 hours later with my wife and checkbook. As my wife looked among the cockatiels, I pulled Eddie aside and asked him about the cockatoo with the red eyes. First he explained to me that the red eyes identified her as being a "female". He told me the bird was not hand tamed and that he had tried to work with her but she was very stubborn. Later I found out why. Eddie used to clip the small toe off the left foot of all his birds to identify them, something when I found this out really ticked me off and probably upset this little cockatoo very much, hence her attitude. He said if I wanted her he would give me a break on the price. Cockatoos at that time were going for around 1000.00 and he only wanted 600.00 for this one.(Oh no! A BArgain Bird!) I pulled my wife over and said this is the bird I want. She humbly agreed. So we got the cockatoo in a carrying cage, made the transaction, and as we headed towards the door Eddie asked me what I was going to name her. Instantly the name Bella came into my head. Eddie thought I said "Stella" and he said with her attitude, it would be a good name...I was going "NO" B-E-L-L-A. Boy, did that piss off my wife...she complained because I would occasionally call her Bella..but the name Bella fit this bird so well. After getting home, I let the bird settle into her cage and get used to the new surroundings. Other than feeding her and cleaning her cage daily, I didn't try to interact much with her for about the first month. Couple of times I tried to get her on my hand but man would she go nuts. Cockatoos can bite hard...and she drew blood each time. It took me a good 6 months before this bird settled down and let me handle her, and even then, she was very stubborn. Not only was she stubborn but her screams when the sun went down were almost unbearable. What are you going to do to a screaming Cockatoo? Spank her butt??? Not affective. Too many feathers back there and very cushioned. I think at first I used to throw the blanket over the cage and she would settle down, that and telling her to "shush". She did this nightly for years. Boy did I get a Cockatoo education the hard way! Had I known what these birds were all about I would of never made the purchase.
After living in Miami for two years my employment there came to an end and we decided to move back north to Maryland. I worked in the airline industry and I was facing contract jobs around the country. My parents kindly took the bird in their home as I traveled in search of permanment employment. Let's see, somewhere around there my wife and I decided to seperate also. At least Bella was in the care of my parents while all this was going on. Ocassionally I would return and I could tell Bella was happy to see me and I could also tell she was confused when it was time to go and my suitcases were packed. She stayed with my parents for three years and did alot of damage during that time, as well as the noise. They must of loved her as much as I did to let her go through her nightly screaming and picking apart of wooden objects about the house. In 1997 I found another job in Miami and I felt I was going to be settled in enough to take Bella back. I was so happy to have her back in my possesion again and our relationship picked up right where it had left off. She never forgot me.
Here it is 2002 and me and Bella now live in South Carolina. She doesnt scream anymore at nights and she still is a lil prissy when it comes to getting on my hand. It's like a game to her. At nights at 8 o'clock she expects to go into the bathroom, where she has completely taken over the place in there. She has a stand next to the mirror with cups full of peanuts and water. And she expects to be place back in her cage at 10 promptly. (My shaving, brushing, and flossing is now done in the kitchen). She doesnt talk with the exception of a slurred version of "Hello" so when she wants some attention, we go into the Hello game. She says Hello and I say Helloooo, and this goes on for 20-30 minutes 3-4 times a day. It's amazing how something so small has found such a big place in my heart and I could never part her under any circumstances.
Why did I write all this? I found this website last night while searching for a new cage and I was so impressed with it. This website is so "in your face" and straight foward about Cockatoos and my hats off to the owner. If your not ready to accept this animal into your life (not just your home, your entire life as you would a child) then please do not get one of these birds. I am so proud that I have had mine for so many years and hopefully she will be with me for years to come.